These past several months, I have used some of the most popular social media platforms: Wix Website, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook (personal, business and groups), and Patreon. My intent is to drive customers to my shops for the purpose of purchasing my products; and earn money through advertising and affiliate programs. I am a large consumer of YouTube videos that tout how and why to use these platforms. After much learning and experience, I have developed my own opinion which I will discuss below.

1. A website is the hub of social media platforms. It contains my background, products, art shop, essential links, future events/campaigns, and contact information. But it requires social media to drive viewers.

2. YouTube has become the “go to” search engine for instructional and entertainment videos. If your personality and art interests viewers, a visit to your website may follow. If you post sufficiently and get the right number of viewers and subscribers, then YouTube offers opportunities to make money through ads and affiliate marketing. Beware, this can take significant time…several months or years. But post YouTube videos and blogs because of other advantages. For instance, this is a history of my art journey which is important documentation if I ever decide to publish books. It further serves as provenance for my artwork.

3. Facebook was initially intended to share personal interests with family and friends. My art postings on my personal Facebook have resulted in customers. And the money I earned was a good amount, but not sufficient to live off. This might be different if I painted commissions.

4. Therefore, I opened a Facebook business page and an Instagram account hoping that this might increase interest in my art. At this point, I feel they both are too time consuming considering that after two months I have few subscribers/followers. Therefore, I will discontinue regular postings on these platforms.

5. Facebook groups. I have joined over 30 art-related Facebook groups to publicize my YouTube art videos and have been somewhat successful. But not enough to get more than 30-300 viewers per post, and very few subscribers.

6. I recently created a “Decorating with Art" private Facebook group to post art I create and collect. The members, mostly my friends and family, do not post much. The few members who have posted art, actually posted art they had purchased from me. They each gave some background on the purchase, so that has been incredibly positive. It is too early to determine the success of this group.

7. I tried Pinterest early on because it is another large search engine. However, it was so complicated that I stopped. Now with a significant number of blogs and YouTube videos, I plan to give it another try and place my blogs and my YouTube videos on Pinterest.

8. Last month, I created a Patreon account. I closed it almost immediately, thinking that I would instead open a membership site on my website. However, I learned that creating the membership site is complex and I do not want to pay someone to set it up. Therefore, I will reopen my Patreon account.

9. Print-on-demand sites are not social media. However, I include them here because they are part a good social media campaign that equals sales. I have posted my art on Fine Arts America (this is also called Pixels.com) and on Redbubble.com. Owing to low Pixels.com sales, I recently posted my art on Redbubble.com. I believe they are both essential. Pixels.com has higher quality prints but does little advertising. Redbubble.com does more advertising and has more merchandise. They are both easy enough to use.

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